Essential Politics: Get out of the house ... of origin

Essential Politics: Get out of the house ... of origin

Good morning from the state capital. I’m Sacramento bureau chief John Myers and this morning’s Essential Politics begins with a short civics lesson.

Everyone knows that proposed laws must clear both houses of the Legislature, the Assembly and Senate, and then go to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. But a handful of bills introduced in 2015, for one reason or another, have lingered in limbo in their “house of origin."

This week, time’s up.

The state constitution requires any bill introduced in the first year of the two-year session make it to the other chamber in the statehouse by Jan. 31. Over the course of this week, we’ll be tracking several of these in our new Essential Politics news feed. By the way, legislators have about three more weeks to introduce brand new 2016 ideas, and we’ll be tracking those, too.


In this not-so-normal 2016 presidential race we should probably now expect the unexpected. Case in point: an overt effort by some top Iowa politicians to stop the ascendancy of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Seema Mehta reports that Cruz has run afoul of both the ethanol lobby and the U.S. Senate. And it has the party’s elite warming to other options, even the unheard-of notion of backing Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Noah Bierman takes a closer look at Cruz and a pivotal point in the GOP candidate’s career: his stint as solicitor general of Texas and the ensuing evolution of Cruz’s love-it-or-hate-it political style.


He may not have come right out and said he’s backing Hillary Clinton, but some observers may have gotten that impression from statements that President Obama made in a Friday interview that was released on Monday. Michael Memoli and Christi Parsons take a closer look at the cautious approach the Obama camp is taking even as the man himself seems to be dropping some fairly big hints about who he’d pick as his successor.

Needless to say, our presidential posse is watching all the players as the Iowa caucuses are now officially one week away. Lots of updates can be found on our Trail Guide news feed.


Here’s a safe bet for 2016: There will be a statewide school bond on the ballot, the first one in a decade. But will it be a bond measure written by the governor and legislators or by outside interest groups?

More and more, it’s looking like the latter. Despite the governor’s call a couple of weeks ago for a Sacramento solution, a number of political heavyweights are now endorsing a $9-billion bond proposal that’s already gathered enough voter signatures to make November’s ballot. In short, the outside groups pushing that measure never could get consensus on a school bond in the statehouse and Brown’s new push may be too little, too late.


They have less than a year to wrap up political careers that have spanned decades, so what do they hope to accomplish? Sarah Wire talked with retiring California Democrats and found a long list of priorities — and scant time left to tackle them, especially given their minority status.

From Alzheimer's research and e-cigarettes to designating a 141-year-old San Simeon lighthouse as a national monument, find out what Sen. Barbara Boxer and Reps. Lois Capps and Sam Farr will be doing through the end of the year.


— President Obama is headed back to the Golden State next month for a Feb. 11 fundraiser at the Hancock Park home of Hollywood power couple Danny Rose and Aaron Rosenberg. According to a copy of an invitation obtained by The Times, the Democratic National Committee event has a range of prices, starting at $1,000 as a “guest” and going up to $33,400 for a couple to be co-hosts and have VIP seating and to attend a reception with a presidential photo line.

— Hoop dreams: NBA legend Jerry West stopped by the state Capitol on Monday and brought along the 2015 championship trophy won by the Golden State Warriors. Social media were filled with legislators posing for photos, reports Melanie Mason.

— Patrick McGreevy reports that a group of legislators is asking the governor for an official fisheries disaster declaration because of the stalled Dungeness crab season. Meanwhile, an effort is underway to give local communities more time to either regulate or ban the growing of medical marijuana.

— Why is San Francisco billionaire activist Tom Steyer headed to Baltimore? Sarah Wire explains.


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